Last Week Tonight with John Oliver takes on the issue of civil asset forfeiture, including "Law & Order: Civil Asset Forfeiture Unit", a preview of how police procedurals could handle the topic. [more inside]
NSA Tried To Delete Court Transcript In Lawsuit Over Deleting Evidence On three separate occasions in the Jewel V. NSA case, the NSA sought to delete evidence. Then it sought to redact the transcript.
Taken: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture. "Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?" [Via]
"There's nothing more aggravating in the world than the midnight sniffling of the person you've decided to hate." ― Shannon Hale, Book of a Thousand Days
The DoJ drops all remaining investigation and prosecution of US War on Terror deaths/murders through harsh tactics/torture: "No Charges Filed on Harsh Tactics Used by the C.I.A." [NYT] Glenn Greenwald reacts and describes the cases that just got dropped. [Guardian] Second link is arguably a violence trigger, but is better and bothers to do things like talk to the ALCU.
London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
Back in May this year, British Twitter user Paul Chambers was found guilty of sending a 'menacing electronic communication'. The communication in question? A Twitter update written when stuck at an airport, saying the following: "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" [more inside]
ACLU launches "Spyfiles" to track domestic surveillance. "The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new website Tuesday to track incidents of domestic political surveillance by the government along with a report (PDF) claiming such incidents have increased steadily since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to the report there have been 111 incidents of illegal domestic political surveillance since 9/11 in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The website, Spyfiles, will serve as the ACLU's online home for all news and reports of domestic spying."
The Fed Who Blew the Whistle: Is he a hero or a criminal? Three years after the New York Times first revealed the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, whistleblower Thomas Tamm has acknowledged his role in making it public. [Via]
Further to the cover up and the initial claims the jury has reached a verdict in the De Menezes inquest. [more inside]
State Secrets: A government misstep in a wiretapping case. A New Yorker article on the Kafkaesque case of Al Haramain v. Bush. [Via Threat Level.] [more inside]
Biomaterial charges against N.Y. art professor dismissed. A judge has thrown out the charges against Steve Kurtz. Finally. Kurtz's case was previously discussed here and here. [Via]
Up Against Big Brother: "For 18 years the Electronic Frontier Foundation has fought for the rights of ordinary Americans in cyberspace. Now it’s stepped into the limelight with a legal challenge to warrantless surveillance." [Via Boing Boing.]
Surveillance Society Clock. "It's six minutes before midnight as a surveillance society draws near within the United States." [Via Danger Room.]
Bush Gets a Spying Blank Check. The passage of the new FISA bill was a hurried response to the revelation that the FISA court recently decided that at least part of the NSA wiretapping program is illegal. It looks to be another step in our gradual transition into a National Surveillance State.
The Green Scare: Rod Coronado gave a talk in San Diego and the feds called his words ‘terrorism.’ How new laws are equating environmentalists with Al Qaeda. [Via Gristmill.]
Entheogens and Psychotherapy. A 2001 paper by Canadian psychotherapist Andrew Feldmar on the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics and his own experience with LSD. Now, because of this paper, he is no longer allowed to enter the U.S. [Via MindHacks.]
Drug-resistant TB strain raises ethical dilemma. A man in Arizona who has a virtually untreatable strain of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) has been locked up indefinitely because he failed to take precautions to avoid infecting others, even though he has not commited a crime. The new strain of TB is described as a nightmare by health officials, and though mainly found in Africa and Asia, it is slowly beginning to spread in the U.S. [Via Technoccult.]
You had to live -- did live, from the habit that became instinct and the assumption that every sound you made was overheard.
For Your Eyes Only? Allegations that the government is reading your e-mails, with the help of AT&T. The latest episode of NOW did a good piece on the NSA's domestic surveillance program (previously discussed here.) It can be viewed on their website. Meanwhile, Canadian human rights attorney Maureen Webb has written a new book on the scope of government surveillance, and found that the use of sophisticated methods to search for terrorists is not identifying the right suspects.
Window Into a Terror Suspect’s Isolation. American citizen and enemy combatant Jose Padilla gets a root canal. [Via Hullabaloo.]
From the guy who brought you the Whitewater scandal and the impeachment of President Clinton for lying about oval antics in the Oral Office, a legal push to make the Supreme Court just say no to "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Ken Starr's petition to the Court [PDF] makes clear that Starr believes this is no laughing matter, but a chance for the Court to make a landmark ruling that will give school adminstrators the power to limit student speech: "This case presents the Court with a much-needed opportunity to resolve a sharp conflict among federal courts (and to eliminate confusion on the part of school boards, administrators, teachers, and students) over whether the First Amendment permits regulation of student speech when such speech is advocating or making light of illegal substances."
"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government." Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
The terrorists in New Jersey have been captured. They're, uhm, like 15 years old. A fine example of how anti-terror laws like the Patriot Act can be subject to mission creep. (The "terrorists" at the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice in Pittsburgh seem to be still at large.)
Lynne Stewart, a New York human-rights lawyer was arrested and had her files searched, on charges relating to her work as defence counsel for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman who is serving a life sentence in connection with the bombing of the WTC in 1993. A law school's graduate students seeking to honour her with an award at their graduating ceremony has been stopped from doing so by the dean afraid of bad publicity.
Sneering at President John Adams as "querulous, Bald, blind, crippled, Toothless Adams" got Ben Franklin's grandson arrested under the Sedition Act of 1798. Federalists like Adams and Alexander Hamilton used the Sedition Act to muzzle highly aggressive elements of the press. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison fought back -- and won. Understanding this early power grab by the U.S. executive branch helps put recent events into historical context. The struggle itself has been part of the United States of America since the beginning, and anyone working to fight Cheney and Ashcroft's unconstitutional assault happens to be in pretty good company. Happy Fourth of July.
blair postpones freedom of information act until 2005, despite being a labour party pledge for 25 years...... after the undemocratic anti-terrorism legislation forced through parliament on monday, what hope for real civil liberties in the uk?
The register chimes in on new anti-terrorist bills that attack due process, the fourth amendment, and encryption. Sample letters and information on how to contact your reps are available at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Act quickly, because congress sure will.